Tracey’s sorry, but she’s not meeting any more boyfriends’ parent for now.
While I wasn’t watching, my daughter morphed from a 12-year-old who thought all boys were ‘yucky’ into a 14-year-old who surreptitiously wore mascara to school the better to attract the admiration of the guys in her class. Still, I didn’t really take much notice of her budding obsession with boys until she asked one day if her current number’s mother could come over for lunch to meet the family.
Given that I hadn’t met him – didn’t, in fact, know a thing about him, including that she and he were an item – I was a bit reluctant, but she seemed so keen, on both the boy, Ashley, and the notion of our families making contact, that I agreed.
What resulted was a slightly surrealistic assignation on our verandah, during which the lovebirds sat and stared at each other in mute mutual adoration, while we two mothers picked at finger food, politely sipped white-wine spritzers, and tried valiantly to find common ground and make conversation.
It was resoundingly and embarrassingly unsuccessful but I took heart from the fact that at least I’d made the attempt, and that my daughter would remember her first great love in a positive way. Who knew, perhaps as time went on, and I got to know Ashley better, his mother and I might even connect in some hitherto unrevealed way, related directly to the deep feelings our respective offspring had for each other?
So you can imagine my indignation a week later when my daughter asked me to repeat the exercise – with her ‘new’ boyfriend.
‘But what happened to Ashley?’ I asked her.
‘Oh, mom, he’s so yesterday,’ she said, with a Hannah Montana-like flick of her hair. ‘But Ryan… ooh,’ she said, clasping her hands to her breasts and rolling her mascaraed eyes to heaven, presumably comparing him with the angels that swan around up there.
It was a short, sharp reminder of the mayfly-like lifespan of teen romances – something, I admit, I’d forgotten from my own first forays into luurve.
Needless to say, I’ve never repeated the Meet The In-Laws exercise. Which is just as well, because my daughter, now 17, has had several dozen ‘great loves’ since Ashley. She’s adored them all equally, of course, but even she’s got the savvy to realise that none of them actually lasts long enough to warrant a mom-on-mom finger-lunch on the verandah.
At what point do you think “in-laws” should meet?